Parks and Recreation is a sitcom featured on NBC’s Thursday night line up starring Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman and Rob Lowe. Apparently, the show has been on since April, 2009; however, I have only watched a handful of episodes. I am glad I watched the episode titled “Pawnee Rangers” (2011) which aired on Thursday, October 13, 2011.
The show is set in the fictional Pawnee, Indiana. Poehler plays Leslie Knope, who is employed in Pawnee’s parks department, while Nick Offerman plays Ron Swanson, who is the park department’s director. Both are pivotal to the “Pawnee Rangers” episode.
The Pawnee Rangers are a Boy-Scout-type troop lead by Swanson. Knope provides historical background that five years earlier, the Rangers had refused to allow a girl to join the troop. It is little surprise that the Ranger handbook, as written by Swanson, has only one line: Be a Man. Therefore, the Pawnee Goddesses troop was created to give the girls in Pawnee their own club – their motto is We’re Freaking Awesome.
Both troops take part in the weekend known as “Wilderness Weekend.” However, Swanson is against the presence and participation of the Goddesses during the weekend:
Swanson: “The Pawnee Rangers were founded because some boys want to go out into nature and learn traditional survival skills without being distracted by girls.”
Knope: “Well, my awesome Goddesses don’t want to be distracted by losers.”
The Goddesses wear purple, get lots of badges (i.e. best hair style) and get to stay indoors at a cozy shelter while the boys have to stay outdoors in cardboard boxes during the weekend. The entire weekend for the Rangers is sparse and based on sheer survival. The Rangers eat cold beans out of a can while the Goddesses eat bulgogi and other ethnic delights.
While Knope lists off their scheduled activities for the afternoon as “hiking, capture the flag, a puppet show about the Bill of Rights set to the Miley Cyrus song ‘Party in the USA’, lasso training and a s’mores off,” Swanson has only “one activity planned – not getting killed.”
When one of the Rangers tries to defect to the Goddesses, Knope refuses and sends him back to his troop by saying “maybe you should start your own club for boys.” However, the girls/Goddesses chastise Knope for her behavior and remind her that this is exactly what happened years ago when the Rangers refused to allow a girl to join their group.
Later, both groups have a debate/”public forum” about whether boys should join the Goddesses. One girl cites “Brown vs The Board of Education” as a reason why they should allow a boys to join, while another girl states she can see the benefit of girls-only education. But the boy who tried to defect, Darren, states that he wants to join the Goddesses because “it’s cold and dirty out here and you guys have candy . . . I want candy.”
The final straw is when Knope’s yellow lab puppies arrive for the “puppy party” in front of both troops.
The next scene shows all the boys wanting to join the Goddesses; they are each adorning a purple “Goddess” sash and repeating the Goddess oath:
“I am a Goddess, a glorious female warrior . . . Queen of All That I Survey . . . Enemies of fairness and equality hear my womanly roar.”
“Congratulations! You are now Goddesses!” says Knope.
I highly recommend seeing the “Pawnee Rangers” episode.
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